My cousin once asked my mother, "How did you get your kids to turn out so musical?"
"When they would cry as babies," she answered, "Tom and I would match their pitch until they could hold it. And then we would go up a third. Harmonize."
I can only imagine how confused I was, a screaming infant to have other noise invading my attention-grabbing airspace, but as it turns out, their strategy worked.
That story more or less sums up my family. My parents met in the church choir in their early thirties. My mother's "career assessment" test from high school pegged her as a singing forest ranger who fixed her own truck. My father played in a few different bands in his teens, and dropped out after a semester of music education at UMass Lowell to get a day job that could accompany his playing the local club and bar circuits. Then he dropped the day job to go the Boston Conservatory for a degree in Opera.
By the time I came around, both of my parents were perfectly normal to the outside world--an audiologist and some mysterious financial technological consultant (that resulting from my father dropping his local playing for an M.B.A. and a day job and a family). Inside our house though, there was always music.
I can remember distinctly the moment I realized that most daddies don't have CDs of their own original music lying around the house. My poor friend Alyssa's only response when I asked her what instrument her father played was, "Um...he's a security guard." I hadn't thought that should make a difference; after all, my dad was a computer something-or-other! His songs were as much a part of my childhood as the Disney soundtracks.